It’s that happy time of year in Chicago once again. No I’m not talking about snow days and temperatures that start with a negative sign…I promise I wouldn’t be referring to winter as a ‘happy time.’ I’m talking about Restaurant Week! This year it starts January 24th and lasts until February 6th. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s a span of time (usually lasts about two weeks despite its name), that restaurants set prix fixe menus that cost $22.00 for lunch and either $33 and/or $44 for dinner. It’s a great time to check out a restaurant you might not usually be able to afford plus it encourages people to go out when you normally would want to have a cozy night in. Here are some facts about 2013’s Restaurant Week from the Chicago Restaurant website:
Chicago Restaurant Week 2013 proved to be the most successful Restaurant Week yet. With 286 participating restaurants throughout Chicagoland, we saw an increase in participation over last year by 8%. The impact of the promotion was more than $26.9 million in direct dining spending in Chicago area restaurants, serving 513,000+ diners over the course of ten days.
For the third year in a row, Dave and I have taken advantage of Restaurant Week by eating at one of the many restaurants that participate. This is actually all attributed to our friends Tom & Kim who research the best restaurants and then make a large reservation and invite us. This year they picked a lovely restaurant called Beatrix located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.
I loved the décor and ambiance of this place. The food was also amazing and we all commented that the portions were huge. In my experience, fancier restaurants usually have smaller portions, but I was full after eating just the salad (apologies for not capturing a photo of the salads-the only photos I forgot to take)! I loved everything I chose ( Straight ‘A’ Salad, Crispy Roasted Organic Chicken, and the Oh My! Carmel Pie) and also loved everything I tried that Dave chose (Enlightened Ceasar, Slow-Braised Pot Roast, and the Tall, Dark and Handsome Chocolate Cake). We usually order different choices so we can try more things.
After dinner, Tom wanted to try a bar called Three Dots and a Dash. It’s a retro tiki lounge with an entrance hidden in an alley. We learned that the hard way by finding the correct address and asking the people at that establishment where the heck the place was. That confirmed we were in the right place, but that we needed to go around the corner down the nearest alley to find the entrance…okay? A little strange how hidden it is, but I suppose it adds to the ambiance of the place. I mean they have a wall of skulls above your head upon entering and descending the staircase. It’s all very spooky.
Once you get downstairs it is very Tiki! While the theme is fun and well put together, it was very crowded and we were told there would be a 2 hour wait for a table. We didn’t want to wait around that long, so we grabbed a drink (a very potent drink) at the bar and chatted for a bit. We saw one couple get a drink delivered that involved dry ice and marveled at how much alcohol was in all our drinks. I’m really glad we took the time to find that place and I enjoyed myself, but I must say I will stick with good old Hala Kahiki in River Grove. It’s way easier to get a seat, drinks are more affordable, and it isn’t hidden!